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Tech News Today for October 25, 2016

Tech News for Tuesday October 25, 2016

Apple reported fourth quarter earnings today -- the stock is down for the year and for the third quarter in a row, and iPhone sales were down from this time last year. In case you're counting, that's 45.5 million iPhones sold, compared to last year's 48.05 million. So still, a giant pile of iPhones. Revenue also shrank 9.8 percent to $46.9 billion from the same period one year earlier. They reported 9.3 million iPads sold last quarter and 4.9 million Macs, which was also down from the same quarter last year. And yet, they still beat investor's estimates, which is often the most important part of the story. Apple's big quarter is the one after the holiday season, so we'll see what happens then. Read more at wsj.com.

We’re used to seeing leaks of marquee products ahead of their official unveiling, but you have to wonder whether leaks from inside the company’s other products are accidental or intentional. Ahead of this Thursday’s expected Apple reveal of a number of Mac upgrades, yesterday’s MacOS Sierra 10.12.1 software update contained some hidden images of its upcoming Macbook Pro refresh, showing for the first time official images of the OLED touch panel that sits above the number row on the keyboard. Not only is this confirmation of the product’s existance, it also visually confirms that Touch ID is integrated into the OLED screen itself. It also shows how the OLED panel changes contextually to match certain functions on the laptop. Read more at macrumors.com.

Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet says Microsoft is open sourcing its contribution to the growing field of deep-learning. Cognitive Toolkit, still in beta, allows developers to make use of deep-learning techniques in their apps and services. A team of computer scientists focusing on speech recognition and natural language processing developed Cognitive Toolkit, which now includes native support for python and C++, in order to speed up adoption. The code is available now on GitHub and available via an MIT open source license. This is the same tool that we told you about last week that distinguised itself by performing better than many professional transcriptionists. In case you're wondering why we're seeing such a deluge of AI right now, Microsoft’s Chief Speech Scientist and a developer of the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit told The Register that a combination of large datasets, better computer infrastructure and deep learning have combined to create all these sudden advances in the field. Read more at zdnet.com.

Chinese hardware maker Xiaomi might not have much of a US presence at the moment, but its efforts in smartphone design are always intriguing, particularly for its low price point. The newly announced Mi Note 2 looks a whole lot like the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, minus the stylus, with its edge display, and squircle home button at the bottom. Also shown off, and more impressively, is the ceramic-bodied Mi Mix, a 6.4” concept phone that will actually go on sale in China next month, with a cutting edge bezel-less design that is the genesis of famed designer Philippe Starck. Read more at androidpolice.com.

At the Wall Street Journal tech conference, AT&T execs said the merger with Time Warner is not sticking it to the consumer. And to that end they announced a new $35 a month streaming service that includes mobile and will offer 100 channels. The service will debut in November. At first it will just be over landlines, but will move to 5G wireless connections, to be deployed by 2018 and expand in 2019 and 2020. Read more at techcrunch.com.

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